By Emma Amaize
WARRI—PARAMOUNT Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, King Charles Ayemi-Botu, lamented, yesterday, that both the Ministry of Niger Delta and Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, have failed the people of Niger Delta in terms of infrastructure development and curbing unemployment.
Ayemi-Botu, a former national chairman of Association of Traditional Rulers of Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Nigeria, ATROMPCON, stated this after his thank-you visits to communities in Delta and Bayelsa states that participated in his just concluded 25th coronation anniversary.
The monarch, who toured Ekametagbene community in Bomadi Local Government Area, Delta State, Ikibiri and Akaranbiri communities in Yenagoa and Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Areas, Bayelsa State, said residents in riverine areas were seriously suffering due to deficiency of basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges and shore protection, lack of employment, flooding and abject poverty.
He said: “It is highly regrettable and indeed a sad commentary that the efforts and sacrifices of traditional rulers, leaders and youths that led to the establishment of the defunct OMPADEC, now NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta and even the Presidential Amnesty Programme, as interventionist agencies, seem to be wasted.
“Those appointed owe allegiances to and keep trying to satisfy the inordinate desires of their godfathers in Abuja. They form cartels or syndicates with phantom companies and award contracts to themselves, thereby throwing the aspirations and purpose of providing succor to the oil-bearing communities to the winds.
“President Buhari should sit up and do the needful by dissolving these agencies presently occupied by self conceited appointees.
“Government has to take urgent steps to address the absence of basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, shore protection and reclamation as well as tackle the perennial flooding in the Niger Delta region, particularly in Ijaw communities to avoid catastrophic natural disasters.
“Nature has been very benevolent to the oil-bearing coastal communities, which invariably are the economic live-wire of the country, saving them from extinction as a result of age long oil exploration and exploitation and neglect by successive governments.
“The development has exposed the communities to untold hardships such as floods, acid rains from perpetual gas flaring, water, airborne diseases and deaths by insensitive multinationals whose stock-in-trade is to cart away our wealth without ploughing back part of it to develop the affected communities.
“The Federal Government and oil majors should act with urgent dispatch to address these anomalies in order to forestall avoidable tension in the Niger Delta region.”
Ayemi-Botu challenged leaders in Ijaw nation to stop their lip service, but mount pressure on government and its agencies as well as companies operating in Ijaw land to do the needful by attracting development to the areas.